1×04: “The Companion”
“Lydia Layne’s Better Half”
* For a recap & review of Episode 3, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 5, click here.
Directed by David Bruckner
Written by Matt Venne
from a story by Joe, Kasey, & Keith Lansdale
A kid named Harry sits fishing under a bridge. He’s looking pretty sullen. His buddy Smitty drops by, noticing his pal looks beat up. It’s the result of Harry’s big brother, Billy. Harry doesn’t have anywhere to go other than to sit down by the river. He and Smitty do some laughing to ease the pain. But it doesn’t change anything for him. He’ll still have to go back home to somewhere he doesn’t want to go.
When he’s alone again he hears footsteps heading his way on the bridge above. Billy tosses his bike over the side, and plans to do more damage to his younger brother. Seems that Harry dented big bro’s car. Billy calls him a “filthy piece of shit” and threatens to beat him. Harry manages to get away, but Billy runs after him: “I‘ll fucking kill you.”
Eventually the sun goes down and Harry ends up at a cemetery. He goes past the grounds and finds a scarecrow— a terrifying one with animal-like jaws and a bloody rib cage. He keeps hearing Billy calling out, stalking him. He pulls a weapon from the scarecrow’s guts and continues running. He makes it to a spot where he hides for a minute. He just has to keep on running because Billy won’t quit.
Harry runs into an old, rundown house near the fields. He hears someone outside, assuming it’s Billy, only it looks more like the scarecrow. He hears Billy calling to him, but walking of in the distance. And he sees the scarecrow’s no longer strung up on its post, either. Roots start running under the door, grabbing at the knob to open it, and in comes the scarecrow. Harry tries to run and falls through the staircase into the decrepit basement. There’s an old corpse down there, too.
A man named Brenner lost his wife Mavis 7 years prior. He made “a companion” for himself out of straw and animal bones, to hang out there in the field. But the companion came to horrific life. After some time, the scarecrow started doing horrible things. So Brenner had to stab it in its Valentine’s heart. After that, he killed himself and forever stayed in that basement.
The scarecrow makes it way into the basement now, as Harry tries to hide. The companion’s saddened to see his dead friend. Harry tries to shoot it, but the gun won’t work. He runs upstairs, pursued by the monster. He manages to grab Brenner’s cane again, and this makes the scarecrow bow down to him. The kid rams the weapon into the Valentine’s heart once more, stopping the scarecrow.
Off Harry goes into the night, having dealt with bigger, meaner monsters than his nasty brother Billy. So he goes home with an idea. In the middle of the night, he wakes his older brother up. Big bro realises he’s stitched into bed. Little bro’s brought the scarecrow along with him and they’re out for blood. Billy’s covered in roots as they burrow under his skin.
From outside, the Creep watches Billy.
“Lydia Layne’s Better Half”
Directed by Roxanne Benjamin
Written by John Harrison
from a story by Harrison & Greg Nicotero
Lydia Layne (Tricia Helfer) is determining Midtech’s new CFO, choosing between Tom Harding and Celia Mendez. She makes the decision and tells Tom to get ready for the big position. This leaves Celia dejected and pissed off. She and Lydia have a close relationship. She’s not impressed with the “successful woman” talk from Lydia while things don’t actually change. Ms. Layne makes it sound like it’s all in Celia’s benefit. Yet that doesn’t sound so great to Celia, who thought her professional life was going to lift off. She calls Lydia “a fraud.” She sees everything her partner’s behaviour as hypocritical.
Things between the two have broken down. “I am not an appendage,” Celia says. And while Lydia acts concerned, she even seems full of shit. She eventually slaps her partner in the face, hard. This gives Celia an idea of how she’ll go about ruining Lydia. But when she tries to go, she wrestles briefly with Lydia and ends up falling to her death with a hard crack of her skull on the coffee table.
One small moment changes everything, forever.
This has left Lydia trying to cover her tracks. She wheels Celia’s dead body out of there, doing her best to figure out a way to smooth over this unfortunate homicide. A bit of a close call with Tom, and she’s back to dealing with the bloody corpse. She wheels the body into an elevator, making it inside without anybody catching her.
Perfect timing for the elevator to fuck up and bang around down the shaft. Now Lydia is stuck. She can’t exactly call for help, considering she’s got a murder victim with her along for the ride. Not that she can get any service in that metal box anyway. She tries to climb up using the chair to get at the hatch in the ceiling. But she slips and falls.
She wakes up at 3 AM, remembering exactly what she’s done, faced with the dead eyes of her lover. Outside there’s a blackout with the earthquakes happening. And Lydia has made a mess of the inside of that elevator. Out of nowhere, the thing gives way and plummets down even further. The fire department calls into the elevators. Lydia says nothing, but the firefighters know someone’s in there. She screams when Celia’s body tips over, alerting them. Almost like Celia’s corpse is reaching out from beyond the grave. This sets Lydia off, ranting about how great she is: “I always win!”
Time passes. A whole day, in fact.
Lydia still isn’t out of that elevator. Meanwhile, Celia’s body keeps moving around. The piece of glass works its way out of her head, coughing up the Woman of the Year award Lydia so proudly boasted over. Is it all really happening? Or is this the woman just losing her mind? Most certainly the latter. This is the surrealism of guilt working its way under Lydia’s skin, driving her mad.
And after another while, it kills Lydia, whose head winds up sitting in dead Celia’s lap.
More great segments. This iteration of Creepshow has brought plenty of dark laughs and even more gruesome darkness. Hard not to love the great stories being told, even when some of them don’t hit the mark as excellently as others. The macabre subjects and themes are enough to keep Father Gore hooked.